WestdaleInfant School

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Phonics Check

What is the phonics screen?

Every Year 1 child in the country takes a statutory phonics check in the same week in June every year. Due to lockdown this will take place in year 2 just before Christmas and again in June. 

Phonics is a crucial part of learning to read and this screener enables schools to assess children’s ability to decode individual words. It is not an assessment of wider reading ability, but provides useful information about individual children’s decoding ability.

How is it administered?

The children take the check in a quiet area of the school, one to one with a known teacher. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. Our children are used to doing these in phonics time and we do mock checks. It isn't stressful and we make it lots of fun!  As it is a statutory assessment, we are not permitted to indicate to the children at the time whether they have correctly sounded out and / or blended the word.    

What form does the check take?  

The children read from a booklet with four words to a page, so no page looks too daunting.    

A typical page at the start of the booklet might look like the left hand column below.  The words gradually become more challenging, but can all be sounded out using the child’s phonic knowledge.  As well as real words there are pages of pseudo or nonsense words as in the right hand column below.


Examples of real and nonsense words